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Chhattisgarh: Maoists ask govt to name interlocutors for release of abducted CoBRA constable

Three days since a CRPF jawan from its elite CoBRA unit went missing after a gun battle on Saturday on the Sukma-Bijapur border, Maoists on Tuesday asked the government to name interlocutors for the release of the jawan from their custody.

In a press note issued on Tuesday, Vikalp, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) of the banned organisation CPI (Maoists), said, “The government must declare the names of interlocutors. After that, we will release the policeman in our custody. Till then, he will be safe under our security.”

The police had Sunday said Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a constable with CoBRA unit of the CRPF, was missing. Subsequently, a senior CRPF officer also met the family of Manhas in Jammu, and assured his relatives the government was fully behind them and trying its best to get him back.

In a statement on Tuesday, Inspector General of Police of Bastar range, P Sundarraj, said the police have so far not been able to locate Manhas. It was aggressively pursuing search operations and was in touch with village and community leaders, people’s representatives and journalists to find more information about the jawan, he said.

Sundarraj also said the police was trying to ascertain the facts relating to the press note issued by the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoists) which claimed they had taken a security personnel captive.

The DSZC press note dated April 6 is addressed to the public claiming the Maoists had killed 24 security personnel and injured 31. It also released names of four of their own who died in the operation. It claimed that the Maoists had managed to procure 14 weapons, more than 2,000 bullets, and other items.

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